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Europeans traveled outside of their countries more in 2018 than a year earlier, but the annualized pace of growth for international travel was lower.
European outbound trips rose by 5 percent in the first eight months of the year. That figure fell short of the 7 percent growth in the comparable number last year.
For comparison’s sake, international outbound trips grew by a slightly higher 6 percent worldwide, thanks to outsized gains in Asia (8 percent) during the first eight months of 2018. Europe was slightly ahead in the pace relative to the U.S. and Canada which only notched a 4 percent gain in international trips.
The survey results dovetail with reports from major online travel companies, such as Booking.com, Amadeus, and Travelport, and from major suppliers, such as Lufthansa Group and International Airlines Group, that outbound travel sales were softer this year. Some executives blamed the World Cup, which prompted many people to stay home to watch TV, while others cited unusual warmer weather in many Northern European countries. A temporary rise in oil prices during the summer season led to airfare price hikes that may have discouraged some last-minute getaways, too.
The biggest gainers in Europe was Turkey, which saw a share shift from people who used to visit Egypt but have been unnerved by instability there.
The survey takers predict the same 5 percent international outbound tourism growth in Europe and 6 percent worldwide in 2019.
One of the most popular kinds of trips in recent years has been international city trips. Since 2007, Europeans have tripled the number of international city trips they have taken, thanks partly to the rise of low-cost airlines. But talk of overtourism may have cooled interest recently, as growth in these types of trips in 2018 have been mostly flat. At 2019 Skift Forum Europe, speakers will explore Europe’s unique role in defining and scaling responsible travel practices critical to the long-term sustainability of the travel industry.